Marvel Studios may be producing content on the small screen for the first time, but its Disney+ original series are still getting big-screen budgets. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that at least a few Marvel Studios series will cost as much as $25 million per episode.
The series reportedly in that expensive neighborhood are The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Hawkeye. THR doesn’t offer any budgetary updates on Loki, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk, but those series will cost at least $10 million per episode and perhaps go over $15 million, which was the budget for Star Wars original series The Mandalorian.
Thus far, it seems that the Marvel Studios live-action series will be six episodes, though some could go up to eight. Sticking with six episodes at $25 million each, that’s a movie-level budget of $150 million. Granted, this would be for approximately six hours of story compared to a little over/under two for a feature film, but even so, Marvel Studios will not be lacking production value on Disney+.
These numbers are shocking, but an atypically large investment was always going to be required. Marvel Studios has built an incredible reputation and earned a unique level of trust from its audience. Fans have come to expect a certain (very high) level of quality from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the brand can’t afford to be weakened by cutting financial corners just to have the Marvel Studios logo pop up on Disney+.
Star Wars may be headlining the launch of Disney+ on November 12, but there’s no doubt Disney views Marvel as its most valuable player in the streaming game. The company has already announced eight Marvel Studios series (including the animated What If…?) compared to four from Lucasfilm’s Star Wars (including a revival of the animated The Clone Wars). Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was just named Chief Creative Officer, Marvel to reflect his expanding creative responsibilities over movies, television/streaming, animation, and publishing.
Disney is counting on Marvel to lead the charge in streaming just as the studio has been doing at the box office. In order for that plan to work, there cannot be a dip in creative quality or presentation. Telling stories with major characters from the MCU, and telling them well with the kind of scale and spectacle audiences reasonably expect, is expensive.
It’s a big investment, but Disney already knows that Marvel Studios pays even bigger dividends.
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter